tv PBS News Hour PBS August 21, 2018 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the "newshour" tonight, guilty-- the president's former lawyer, michael cohen admits to multiple counts, including violations for paying off women to keep quiet about alleged affairs at the direction of mr. trump. and a jury convicts the president's former campaign chairman, paul manafort, on eight financial crime charges. and, the trump administration reverses a signature obama policy: clean air regulations on coal-fired power plants. all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour.
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thank you. >> woodruff: two major stories tonight involving two men with close ties to president trump now facing time in prison. a jury found former campaign chairman paul manafort guilty on eight counts of financial crimes, while ordered a mistrial on 10 others. but we begin with the guilty plea from mr. trump's former lawyer, michael cohen. he admitted to multiple crimes including campaign violations for paying off women to keep quiet about affairs at the direction of the president. there was a frenzy of cameras wherever michael cohen went in new york today.
cohen pleaded guilty to charges including campaign finance violations, bank fraud and tax evasion. the deal could result in prison time. after the court proceedings, robert khuzami, deputy u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york spoke outside. >> mr. cohen plead guilty to two campaign finance charges, one for causing an unlawful corporate contribution, and a second one for personally making an excessive personal contribution, both for the purpose of influencing the 2016 election. these are very serious charges and reflect a pattern of lies and dishonesty over an extended period of time. they are significant in their own right. they are particularly significant when done by a lawyer, a already who through training and tradition understands what it means to be a lawyer, who engage in honest and fair dealings and adherence
to the law. mr. cohen disregarded that training, disregarded that tradition, and decided that he was above the law, and for that he is going to pay a very, very serious price. >> woodruff: cohen has known mr. trump like few others, as one of his personal attorneys for more than a decade. he worked on overseas deals for the trump organization in georgia, and later the 2016 campaign where he was a frequent surrogate on tv. >> i know mr. trump, i've stood by him, shoulder to shoulder. >> but you guys are down. and it makes sense that there would-- >> says who? >> polls. most of them. all of them? >> says who? >> polls. i just told you. i answered your question. >> okay, which polls? >> all of them. >> okay, and your question is? >> woodruff: and he stuck with mr. trump as he transitioned to the presidency.
>> i'm going to be the personal attorney to mr. trump. i'm not going to be in government. but i'm going to remain, technically, in the same role for mr. trump, for president trump, as i was when he was president of the trump organization. i will be in d.c. and in new york, anywhere where mr. trump deems necessary, i'll be there. >> woodruff: but in the spring of this year, an f.b.i. raid on cohen's manhattan office, home and hotel would test the relationship. prosecutors had been investigating cohen for business fraud for months and seized millions of items. >> so i just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys, a good man. and it's a disgraceful situation. >> woodruff: among the files, was evidence of hush money payments to two women: adult film star stephanie clifford, known by her stage name as stormy daniels, and former
playboy model karen mcdougal. and then weeks ago, the relationship appeared to reach a breaking point when cohen's attorney shared audio recordings of conversations cohen had with president trump about those payments. for the latest on what we know about michael cohen's plea deal, i'm joined now by jessica roth. she's a law professor at yeshiva university and a former federal prosecutor for the southern district of new york. and andrea bernstein, a senior editor at wnyc, who was in the courthouse today. andrea bernstein, i'll begin with you. tell us about what you saw, what you heard in the courtroom when this guilty plea came forward. >> well, it was a dramatic moment. i mean, we began to hear around the middle of the day that there might be some activity, and then at about 2:00 we were told something was going to happen at 4:00, but that's all we knew.
so the courtroom was packed, and the prosecutors had all come in, four of them stood at their table, and then there was michael cohen. he walked in a side door. he stood at the table by himself for a moment, and then the proceedings began, in which the judge asked him, did he know what he was doing. and it was dramatic, because as you said, he was a lawyer, he was someone who knew what he was doing. he was asked, what is your education. he said, "i went to law school." and he was asked, "are you pleading guilty because you are guilty? " and he stopped for a moment to sigh, and he said, "yes, your honor," and he proceeded to plead guilty to these eight counts, five counts of tax evasion, one count of misleading a bank on a loan application, and two other very dramatic counts of campaign finance violations, which is significant both in the michael cohen case, but also in all of the investigations into the trump
campaign that he stood in a federal court and said under oath, "i committed these crimes at the direction of a candidate for federal office." >> woodruff: did the judge say, andrea bernstein, what happens to michael cohen now? >> yes. so the judge laid out the specific sentences for all of the counts that he pleaded guilty to, and then the judge said, you realize that if i choose to sentence you consecutively, it could be up to 65 years in jail. and again there was a pause, and michael cohen said, "yes, your honor. " the judge said, "you cannot withdraw your guilty plea no matter what you might have heard about what this sentence may be." he said, "yes, your honor." so michael cohen has pleaded guilty to eight counts and he understands he could face 65 years in jail for the eight charges. the tax evasion charges themselves carry possible sentences of 30 years some they're very, very serious
counts that he pleaded guilty to, and there are a couple times in the proceeding when the judge stopped him and said, "did you know when you did this that it was illegal and wrong?" and michael cohen said yes. >> woodruff: so jessica roth, listening to this, describe the severity of what the seriousness of what michael cohen has pleaded guilty to. >> well, these are all very serious charges, as reflected in the penalties that he is exposed to as a consequence of pleading guilty to them. these involve fraud, and as andrea said, he has acknowledged that he knew that he was violating the law when he engaged in this conduct. so those are very serious charges. and with respect to the campaign finance law violations, those too are very serious, and those are the ones, of course, that draw the case most closely in toward president trump. >> woodruff: well, speaking of that, staying with you, jessica roth, there has been a lot of speculation about whether michael cohen is going to cooperate in some way with the
prosecutor. the fact that he chose instead to make a guilty plea, what does that say about... he is acknowledging his guilt, but what does it say about any discussions that may or may not have taken place about cooperation for a plea deal? >> well, the fact that he plead guilty without a cooperation agreement presently doesn't mean that he couldn't go on the cooperate at some point in the future. what it means is that at least at the present time his attorneys were not able to reach a cooperation agreement with the prosecutors or potentially that the prosecutors are not interested in cooperation with him. but there is no reason why down the road he couldn't offer testimony that is helpful to special counsel robert mueller or to federal prosecutors in the southern district or new york and other cases and subsequently receive credit, a reduction of his sentence as a consequence of that cooperation. >> woodruff: to what extent,
jessica roth, the guilty pleas today and in particular pleading guilty to campaign finance violations at the direction of the candidate, and it's my understanding that president trump was not named, but i think it's pretty clear who we're talking about, what does that mean in terms of jeopardy for president trump? >> well, certainly now michael cohen has admitted under oath in this guilty plea proceeding that he was acting at the direction of, as you said, a candidate for federal office, and he didn't name president trump, but that's the clear implication of who he was speaking about. what that means is that now somebody who is the president's trusted... who was the president's trusted advisers for years, has acknowledged that he was acting at the direction of it would seem the president, and that could put the president in serious jeopardy if that testimony were to be offered in
a proceeding against the president. >> woodruff: so in terms of legal bearing in the mueller investigation or in any other proceeding, is it clear what that leads to? >> it's in the clear in and of itself, but it's certainly a critical piece of evidence if a prosecutor is building a case against president trump that that's possible to bring and against anyone else who was involved in these activities along with the president, anyone else on his campaign who knew about it, testimony by michael cohen about these events would be a critical part of building that case and making that case before a jury. >> woodruff: andrea bernstein, back to you. any comment by the judge or anyone else in the courtroom today about efforts to reach cooperation agreements with michael cohen? >> no. that wasn't discussed. the only thing that was discussed is what deep
consequences were. and the judge at a couple of points departed from his script to make sure that michael cohen knew what he was doing, was pleading. to i think it's important to note that in the courtroom, we didn't know what was going to happen. so there was this moment of drama when he starts to talk about doing things at the suggestion of a candidate for federal office to keep women from publicly disclosing their affairs, and he said he knew it was wrong. and i think what's striking is that we know that as recently as four months ago in april, michael cohen had as his e-mail signature, "personal attorney to president donald j. trump." they had this very close relationship. michael cohen had worked at the trump organization and was intimately involved in business deals across the world with donald trump for a decade. so the closeness of these two cannot be overstated. michael cohen really felt very
dedicated to president trump. and the idea he would be standing there in a courtroom saying i did these things i think is a significant development in these investigations and i don't think it's something we knew at the beginning of today that was going to happen. >> woodruff: extraordinary development. andrea bernstein with wnyc, thank you very much. jessica roth, you're going to be staying with us tonight to talk about our other major story, and that is the jury in alexandria, virginia, finding the president's former campaign chair, paul manafort, guilty on eight counts of bank and tax fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts, a mistrial, as we reported earlier, was declared on ten other counts. so william, you were in the courtroom. you've been following this trial very closely. tell us about the moment when the jury came forward with the verdict. >> well, similarly to what happened with michael cohen, this is a very striking moment. this is really the first time a jury, a real, live, breathing
jury had a chance to weigh evidence that robert mueller's team has brought. and the jury had give an hint earlier in the day that there was some question about... that they might get hung up on some of these charges. they submitted a question to the judge saying, what happens if we can't reach an agreement? what does that mean for a verdict? when they came back, they said, we came back to an agreement, but we can't come to an agreement on ten separate counts, but when the verdict was red and there were eight straight pleas of guilty, it was a striking moment. paul manafort was standing there at the table with his counsel next to him, sort of stoically looking at the jury as they did this. some members of the jury seemed determined to look at him for the first time and really stare at him as the guilty verdicts were read. several others seemed to be intentionally looking away, look at the floor, looking at the ceiling, and not trying the pay attention. but it was a striking moment. >> woodruff: and what was... you said he was stoic? >> yeah, he was there as his wife, who has been there for
much of the trial, as well, and he was rather stone faced the entire time. you couldn't really read how he was reacting. >> woodruff: so no particular reaction from family members or others in the courtroom? >> no. >> woodruff: william, we've been waiting for this verdict. this trial has been... we've been waiting for the trial and now for the verdict. did the judge after the verdicts, plural, were announced, say what happens next? >> the judge is going to have to... there is some formal paperwork that needs to be filed. he will pass sentence on these certain counts. there is a minimum sentence requirement and maximum requirement. he gets to make a judgment call on those and the prosecution and the defense get to submit their decisions on that. but there is a sentencing trial coming up, so that will be some time in the near future, but we don't know exactly how many years mr. manafort might be facing. >> woodruff: so jessica roth is still with us. guilty on eight counts of bank and tax fraud and failing to disclose foreign bank accounts.
what does that add up to in terms of how serious? >> those are very serious charges. again, these are all felonies carrying significant prison time. and what they demonstrate is that the jury found, all members of the jury as to these counts, that there was proof beyond a reasonable doubt that mr. manafort engaged of these activities of fraud and that he was engaged again knowingly that this was no accident. so they credited the testimony of the witnesses, and as to these particular, for example bank loans and tax filings, they found that mr. manafort had whifflely vie -- willfully violated the law. this is extraordinary serious conduct, and he faces stiff penalty, even if the government decides not to proceed with another trial on the charges to which the jury could not reach agreement. >> woodruff: it's worth sharing with our audience what president trump's reaction was to the manafort verdict. he arrived in west virginia a shorted time ago. reporters asked him both about
the michael cohen verdict, which he did not comment on, but he had this to say about the manafort verdict. >> this has nothing to do with what they started out looking for russians involved in our campaign. there were none. i feel very badly for paul manafort. again, he worked for bob dole. he worked for ronald reagan. he worked for many, many people, and this is the way it ends up. >> woodruff: so jessica roth, the president minimizing the effect of this, and earlier he was saying paul manafort is a good man. but let's talk for a moment about the impact or not this may have on the mueller russia investigation. none of these charges had to do directly with that. so is this on a completely separate track from what mr. mueller is working on? >> well, as you said, none of these charges relate to the russiawhr' however, what they demonstrate is that somebody who was very close to the president and who
was managing his campaign was involved in significant fraudulent activity. so we don't know yet fully how this might at some point connect up to the rest of the special counsel's investigation. what we do know, though, is given that what mr. manafort was convicted of, he's facing, as i said, significant penalty, and he may yet decide that he would like the cooperate with the special counsel, and if he has information that is useful to the special counsel's investigation, that could either connect this activity, of which he's already been convicted to, that larger investigation, or it may continue to be separate, but he is now in a position where now having been convicted of these serious charges, he may yet again have to decide whether or not it's in his best interests to cooperate. >> woodruff: william, pick up on that. >> brangham: judy, as you were saying, it is correct, and the president has long said mr. manafort's case was not about russia, but in some ways it is absolutely about russia. none of these charges had to do
with his time working on the campaign. the belief is that robert mueller thinks paul manafort has some information he wants for his larger investigation, and by prosecuting paul manafort and getting these guilty pleas, he might be able to turn him or extract that information out. now, it's important to say, we have no idea whether paul manafort has any relevant information. we know he was on the campaign during the early stages. he was there at that infamous trump tower meeting. but we just don't know what information is there. but that's the $64,000 question. what does he have? and is this an attempt to squeeze him to get that information out. >> woodruff: and, in fact, he's facing, william, another trial coming up in the next couple months on another set of charges that do have a closer relationship to the mueller investigation. >> yes, this is a trial that will begin in d.c., another federal district court, and these potentially have even graver consequences for mr. manafort if he's found guilty. these are charges of money rawndering, witness tampering, failure to disclose that he was
acting as a foreign agent as part of his work as a ukrainian political consultant. the potential charges against him there could be in the range of 15 to 20 years if he were found guilty, so that is facing him. he could certainly appeal today's conviction. a lot of uncertainty for mr. manafort. >> woodruff: so we can't, jessica roth, we can't know what's in the mind of robert mueller this evening as these verdicts have come down in the manafort case. but if you are robert mueller and you were trying to get to the bottom of what happened, do you think you are any closer as a result of the manafort jury verdict? >> i don't know you're any closer in terms of what we've learned as a consequence of this trial. i think it's a vindication for the special counsel and his team to have obtained these verdicts even if it wasn't on all of the charges. it means that the jury credited the testimony of the witnesses that they called and the other
evidence of extensive fraud engaged in by mr. manafort. that's important in and of itself. these were significant crimes. whether it has the consequence of bringing mr. manafort to the table is another question. certainly the special counsel's hand is stronger tonight than it would have been had there been no guilty verdicts in this case. but also as mr. >> brangham: said, we don't know if mr. manafort has information about mr. trump that would be helpful to mr. mueller. so there are a lot of open questions. but certainly i think that the mueller team must feel vindicated this evening. >> woodruff: a lot of open questions, but we did get some answers today. former federal prosecutor jessica roth roth, now a professor at yeshiva university, and william brangham, who has been covering the manafort trial. thank you both. >> you're welcome. >> thank you. >> woodruff: in the day's other news, the trump administration unveiled its plan to reverse president obama's coal pollution
rules. the environmental protection agency's new proposal would weaken restrictions on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants and give states more control over regulations. we'll have more on the impact of the e.p.a.'s rollback right after the summary. microsoft said it had foiled the latest attempt by russian hackers to infiltrate u.s. politics ahead of november's midterm elections. the tech giant announced that it had removed fake versions of the websites of the u.s. senate and two conservative think-tanks, a so-called "spear phishing" campaign it said was mounted by the same russian group responsible for meddling in the 2016 election. kremlin spokesman dmitry peskov denied that russia was behind the attack. >> ( translated ): we do not know what hackers are talking about. we do not know what is meant by influence on elections. we hear confirmations from america that there was no influence on elections, who
exactly are they talking about? >> woodruff: microsoft's president said there were no signs the hackers were successful in obtaining users' credentials. president trump's supreme court nominee tried to win over senators on capitol hill today-- including a key republican vote. lisa desjardins reports on brett kavanaugh's path to confirmation. >> desjardins: echoing on >> desjardins: echoing on capitol hill today, photo clicks and footsteps as supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh had his busiest day yet: meeting with six senators, including five democrats. one meeting overshadowed them all. maine senator susan collins' vote could be decisive, with 50 republicans regularly voting in the chamber now, the party may need them all to get kavanaugh
confirmed. collins emerged still undecided more than two hours later, judge kavanaugh's longest meeting. >> we talked about executive power. we talked about the "heller" gun decision. we talked about his judicial philosophy. >> desjardins: and, they talked about abortion, the issue driving both protests against and praise of kavanaugh, seen as conservative on the issue. collins, supports roe versus wade and said kavanaugh laid out his view. >> he said he considered "roe" settled law, agreed with chief justice roberts, said it was settled law. >> desjardins: these were roberts words as a nominee in 2005 about roe. >> it is settled as a precedent of the court, yes.
>> desjardins: democratic leader chuck schumer today said that answer reveals nothing. >> everything is settled law until they unsettle it. it is different than saying it was rightly decided. >> desjardins: meantime schumer and democrats also are focusing on kavanugh's time working in the bush white house-- they want access to hundreds of thousands of pages of his documents. but republicans insist that's political, pointing to the over 100,000 pages already public and that more are coming. >> the reason for the great paper chase is that democrat's other attempts to criticize this nominee have fallen flat. >> desjardins: kavanaugh's confirmation hearings being in exactly two weeks. for the pbs newshour, i'm lisa desjardins at the u.s. capitol. >> woodruff: the u.s. has deported the last known nazi suspect in the country to germany, after he lived in the
u.s. for almost 70 years. the government believes jakiw palij served as a guard at a concentration camp in poland during world war ii, which he concealed to enter the u.s. in 1949. federal agents carried the 95- year-old from his home in queens this morning in a wheelchair. the head of nazi investigations in germany said no arrest warrant had been issued for him there. >> ( translated ): we have to wait to see whether there will be a new evaluation or whether new evidence appears to underpin the suspicion. with all nazi crimes we have tremendous difficulties to solve them. because they date back so long, the situation on site has changed. >> woodruff: a judge had ordered palij to be deported 14 years ago. but until now, germany and other european countries had refused to take him. hundreds of protesters converged at the university of north carolina in chapel hill last night to topple a confederate
statue known as "silent sam." it had stood on campus since 1913 as a monument to confederate soldiers. campus police say they've charged one man in connection with the incident. u.n.c.'s chancellor acknowledged the statue was, "divisive," but condemned the protest as "dangerous." and, there's word today that the president's economic advisor larry kudlow recently hosted a publisher of white nationalist content at his home. peter brimelow is an anti- immigration activist whose website is a platform for white- identity politics. the "washington post" reported that brimelow was a guest at kudlow's birthday party last weekend. kudlow said brimelow's views were, "a side of peter i don't a republican congressman and his wife have been indicted by a federal grand jury for misusing campaign funds. california's duncan hunter is accused of improperly spending $250,000 dollars on expenses
like dental work and trips to italy. the department of justice investigation has lasted over a year, in which the congressman maintained his innocence. on wall street today, the dow jones industrial average gained 63 points to close at 25,822. the nasdaq rose 38 points to close at 7,859. and the s&p 500 gained six points to close at 2,863. >> woodruff: the trump administration today rolled out new rules that would reverse course to a cornerstone of the obama agenda: regulating emissions from coal-burning power plants. yamiche alcindor begins our coverage with this report she filed from coal country in west virginia.
>> alcindor: the new rule would give states wide leeway on whether to limit emissions and by how much. that includes allowing older power plants to operate longer. the proposal, called the affordable clean energy rule, would replace obama-era regulations. those rules aggressively pushed for accelerated closures of older coal-fired plants by setting national targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and encouraging adoption of cleaner energies, such as solar and wind power. the rules have never taken effect because of legal challenges from 27 states. in a phone call with reporters this morning, andrew wheeler, the acting environmental protection agency administrator, said the new rule would lead to more affordable energy bills for consumers. he also called the efforts from the obama administration an "overreach," of e.p.a.'s authority.
>> alcindor: the trump rule would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by around one percent, compared to no regulation. but that's a big difference from the benefits president obama cited when he rolled out his plan in 2015. >> with this clean power plan, by 2030, carbon pollution from our power plants will be 32 percent lower than it was a decade ago. we will reduce premature deaths from power plant emissions by nearly 90%. and thanks to this plan, there will be 90,000 fewer asthma attacks among our children each year. >> alcindor: but the obama-era rule has always drawn fire from the coal industry, and in many communities that have traditionally relied on coal to provide jobs and to support the local economy. here in the coal state of west viginia, where president trump will hold a rally tonight, we talked to voters about today's
announcement to the roll-back of >> there was no jobs with those regulations. i mean, i'm all for the environment, but there is right way and a wrong way. you don't do a blanket approach. >> where i live in mango county, we're in the heart of the billion dollar coal field. and literally people were moving out of the state of west virginia because we had no jobs. >> alcindor: democrats attacked the proposal today. and environmental groups quickly condemned today's proposed change. in a statement, the national resources defense council said, "trump's e.p.a. is abandoning any attempt to curb the carbon pollution that's driving damaging climate change. this proposal violates the law and cooks the books on science and economics, all to prop up coal power plants that can't compete with cleaner energy." as the obama-era regulations were, these new rules are expected to be challenged in court. for the pbs newshour, i'm yamiche alcindor in charleston, west virginia. >> woodruff: for a closer look at these changes and the potential impact, i'm joined by juliet eilperin, who covers this closely for the "washington
post." juliet eilperin, welcome back to the news hour. again, just to clarify, the regulations the trump administration is rolling back from the obama administration had never really taken effect? >> right. there had been... they had been stayed by the supreme court because more than two dozen attorneys general from republican states and the industry had challenged e.p.a.'s authority to impose such sweeping limits beyond the plants themselves. so as a result they had not taken effect. >> woodruff: what is it about the obama f era regulations that the trump administration so objects to? >> so the biggest argument they made against those rules was the idea that they applied not just to the operations of the power plants themselves, but they went beyond the fenceline. what that meant is that they said to states, look, we want you the meet these emission targets, and by doing that you can encourage energy efficiency. you can promote the development
and deployment of natural gas plants and renewable energy projects, and those are all ways that you can reduce carbon emissions, and essentially the opponents of that rule said, no, that's not what's really allowed under the clean air act. all you can do is make the existing plants more efficient, which is what this new proposal does. >> woodruff: what about the practical consequences of this? what do we look for? >> there are a couple op things. when it comes to greenhouse gas emission, it will slow the decline of carbon dioxide cuts over time. the obama rule would have done slightly more, although we do see the power sector getting cleaner over time in part because of cheaper natural gas and renewable energy. in terms of the public health impact, that's where you certainly see a difference, because one thing that the trump administration is now proposing is that utilities that want to make their existing coal-fired planteds more efficient can make
those upgrades without installing the kind of pollution controls on traditional pollutants that normally are required under the clean air about. so emissions of soot, those are fine particle, and smog-forming pollutants including sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, could increase over time. the trump e.p.a. estimates that by 2030 there will be an additional, for example, between 470 and 1,400 deaths a year as a result of an uptick in those traditional pollutants. >> woodruff: and how does the trump administration explain that? how do they defend that decision? >> so their argument is that this rule is about carbon dioxide and not those other polluteneds, and they're adhering to the law and focusing on greenhouse gas emissions and they have other methods of controlling those emissions. so potentially they could, you know, address it in another capacity. what they're saying is that they want to make these plants more
efficient, and by definition, if they're going to do that and not impose an additional regulatory burden on these plants, they wanted to make it easier to do these upgrades, and as a result they're changing the kind of current requirement that exist under federal law. >> woodruff: who is happy about this decision, juliet? >> so utilities for the most part say that they're happy about it. that this is... while they still face a number of market pressures and they will be, you know, for example, changing their fuel mix over time, this gives them breathing room if they want to keep some of these older plants in operation. certainly you see republicans, the vast majority of republicans in congress and on the state level, including many of these attorneys general i mentioned that had been suing, they are welcoming in. so from those two camps you have a significant amount of supporters who say this will give them more flexibility and it's something that will help them economically. >> woodruff: but clearly the environmental community and
others not happy with this decision. what about court challenges going forward? what do you expect? >> so we absolutely expect a court challenge from essentially the same groups that were defending the obama-era rule. so that would be environmental groups, as you mentioned, as well as a slew of democratic attorneys general. we've already gotten indications that whether it's from california or massachusetts, they're already preparing a legal challenge, arguing that many of these changes violate the clean air act because the federal government is not basically delegating too much authority to the states and that it needs to be stricter in terms of the emissions reductions it's requiring. >> woodruff: juliet eilperin of the "washington post," thank you. >> thanks so much. >> woodruff: the hacking of the
>> woodruff: the korean war divided more than a peninsula, it separated families. now, as relations between the north and south improve, we witness powerful reunions after decades apart. nick schifrin reports on what these family ties might mean for u.s. relations with the north. >> schifrin: this man has made the same walk for 60 years, stepping slowly over seoul's sidewalks and into the offices of the korean red cross, hoping to find a brother he hasn't seen since 1950. that's when north korea swept into the south, killing thousands of south korean soldiers and kidnapping others back to the north. park's brother was a south korean soldier. to this day, park doesn't know his brother's fate. he starts the describe how much time he's spent, how many places he's gone looking for his brother. for so many in korea, 68-year-old wounds haven't healed. but today some wounds are being patched. across town, kim ho also lost
track of his brother in 1950 and assumed he was dead, but then the south korean government this year told him his brother was alive living in the north. he packs for a reunion 68 years in the making, a government reunification handbook, a photo so he can show off his wife. >> i was very surprised and happy. but i was even more surprised to find out that he was still alive. i am 82 years old and my brother is 78. my children joke whether or not i'll even be able to recognize my brother. >> schifrin: but the kim brothers found each other, bound by memories of a once-united family. they swapped old photo, evidence of abera when relatives of the same culture, language, and tradition weren't divided. dozens of families unite this week. a brother and sister who never met each other. a mother separated from her child for 70 years. despite the emotion, north korea agreed to host these meetings to make kim jong-un seem statesman-like following a summit with moon jae-in says a
former c.i.a. analyst. >> it's a little propaganda and it's a lot of optics. look at the small number of people who are allowed to go. it measured in the dozens rather than hundreds or thousands. i think kim is trying to say that i am fulfilling my part of that summit meeting that i had with president moon. > schifrin: and north korea says it's fulfilling promises made the president trump at the june singapore summit. since then north korea has maintain the suspension on missile and nuclear tests. returned some remains of american troops killed in the korean war. [explosion] blew up the entrance to its primary nuclear test site, and as seen in satellite photos, dismantled an engine testing site that. list is impressive says former state department official and long-time north korea watcher robert carlin. >> when was the last time we saw the north korean leader throw away his cards. these were significant
negotiating cards. kim could have held them. he didn't. he wanted to lay them down so he could get the process moving. >> schifrin: but critics say the process isn't moving fast enough. today the u.n.'s nuclear watchdog said there is no evidence north korea has taken any steps to stop its nuclear activity, a sign they're not serious about denuclearization says pak. >> looking at their words, looking at their actions, looking at things they could do, which they haven't done, which is inviting inspectors in, suggests they're not that serious about denuclearization, and they're trying to use denuclearization as a dang toll get the u.s. to have a peace declaration. >> schifrin: north and south korea want to convert the 1953 armistice enter a permanent peace. that's distraction from the u.s. priority of denuclearization. >> that's one thing the north korean regime has always tried to do is divert attention away on to non-nuclear issues so that people just get used to having a
de facto nuclear weapon state across the border. >> schifrin: but from north korea's perspective, it's the u.s. that diverting attention away from agreements made by president trump and insisting on too many concessions too quickly. >> kim used the word "syncronous" they'll move son on denuclearization if we'll move some. why are we holding back? because we're stuck in this age-old problem, you go first. no, no, no, you go first. well, there's always a way around that. if people would just sit down and talk. >> schifrin: what u.s. and north korean officials are talking about is north korea providing an inventory of its missile and nuclear program. u.s. officials say that would be a positive step they could compare to their intelligence on what north korea has to know if north korea were lying. in the meantime, north and south korea will work together, but even those thee reunions feel powerful, their participants know they're temporary.
>> ( translated ): it's a bittersweet feeling. i'm happy to see my brother, but there is going to be a moment when we have to be separated again. i don't know what i'll do in that moment. >> schifrin: a remind their so far all the progress that's been made is fragile and reversible. for the pbs news hour, i'm nick schifrin. >> woodruff: a personal side we don't often see. and we'll be back shortly with a look at an effort that aims to and we'll be back shortly with a look at an effort that aims to reduce single-use take out containers. but first, take a moment to hear from your local pbs station. it's a chance to offer your support, which helps keep programs like ours on the air. >> woodruff: for those stations staying with us, we turn to the struggle many low-wage workers face finding stable, affordable housing. special correspondent cat wise has this encore report from
anaheim, california. >> reporter: there's a lot to be happy about in anaheim california: a record-breaking 24.2 million tourists visited the city and its well-known theme parks last year. but away from the palm tree lined main streets, there are neighborhoods not often seen by tourists, where tens of thousands of workers live who play a vital role in the region's booming economy. many are making around minimum wage-- $11 an hour-- and housing is often a daily challenge. converted garages, spare bedrooms, motel rooms, cars, and tents have become shelters of necessity in this area which has some of the highest housing costs in the county. >> the housing wage, that is how much someone has to make per hour to afford a basic apartment, is 24 to $26 an hour. and the folks who live in this area earn somewhere between 11 to $13 an hour. >> reporter: jose moreno is an
anaheim city council member who represents a district with a large number of low-income workers. last year, anaheim declared a homeless state of emergency and he led a task force to study the problem. >> wages have stagnated, housing costs are going up. if you're not paying your workers a wage they can live on in the local economy, then that creates a lot of stress on the social system of the city. >> reporter: one of those who is struggling is 58-year-old glynndana shevlin who has worked at disneyland for 30 years. she's a full-time host in a v.i.p. lounge at one of the resort's hotels and she's a member of a labor union which represents disney hotel and restaurant workers. >> i love my job. i love the guests that come in. i have a panoramic view of downtown disney, and both of the parks. >> reporter: while shevlin loves her job, and the health insurance she receives, she doesn't love her pay. she makes $15.70 an hour. she has struggled for years to
find stable, affordable housing. last summer a friend rented her a bedroom, a significant improvement over other places she's stayed including a shelter for women, motels, and friends' couches. but sheblin says she's barely making it month to month. >> at work i'm happy-go-lucky, i look good, i look like i live a privileged life. but actually, to tell you the truth, when i come home, it's a struggle. i haven't been able to shop this week. i couldn't pay rent this month. i feel like i'm a working poor, which is an oxymoron. you should not have to be poor when you're working! >> reporter: it's not hard to find others who are facing similar employment and housing hardships. in a nearby community, a $1,000- a-month converted garage with an outside shower and no kitchen is the current home of lupe acevedo, her mom, and five children. the family receives government assistance, but acevedo also works two minimum wage jobs at a small store and a food truck. >> my kids, they tell me, "mom
is this going to be our life?" they are afraid to live in the streets. i'll do anything i can so that they can get a roof. >> reporter: although low hourly wages are common throughout every sector of the economy, orange county's largest employer, disneyland, attracts a lot of attention. 30,000 full and part time employees, known as cast members, work there. a recent survey of the company's union employees, about 5,000 of whom responded, found: "...more than 85% earn less than $15 an hour." and "almost three-quarters said they do not earn enough money for basic expenses every month." >> 11% of disney workers have been homeless at some point in the last two years. >> reporter: late last month, the survey's authors, from occidental college and the nonprofit economic roundtable, presented their findings to a packed crowd.
the survey was requested and funded by a coalition of resort labor unions, two of which are currently in contract negotiations with disney. disney declined to do an on-camera interview but provided this statement: "this inaccurate and unscientific survey was paid for by politically motivated labor unions and its results are deliberately distorted and do not reflect how the overwhelming majority of our 30,000 cast members feel about the company. while we recognize that socio- economic challenges exist for many people living in southern california, we take pride in our employment experience. disney also noted it has created 4,000 jobs in the last five years, more than any other orange county business, and it's launching a new higher-ed and vocational training program for hourly workers. >> it's bigger than one company. >> reporter: tom tait is anaheim's mayor. he favors higher wages but says the problem of affordable housing can not be easily solved by local government. >> we have a tough time
affecting the price of housing. with land is so expensive, it's very difficult to build something that is affordable. the problem is systemwide. everything is expensive. so we could help a few families here and there, but to help the thousands that we're talking don't see, there's nowhere near that kind of money. >> reporter: in the past, anaheim did have more money to help build affordable apartments complexes, like this one, using state redevelopment funds, but that money largely dried up in 2012. some 30,000 are now on a city waitlist for affordable housing and 20,000 are on a waitlist for section 8 federal housing vouchers. jose moreno is one of the few voices in city leadership who believe developers should be required and incentivized to include affordable units in new projects, or contribute to a housing fund. >> the city doesn't have an affordable housing policy, so as a result we depend on the market
to take care of this, and we know that the market is just not taking care of it. >> reporter: california's minimum wage will go up to $15 an hour by 2022, but local unions don't want to wait that long. they're now trying to collect enough signatures to put a measure on the november ballot that would raise wages to $15 an hour next year. it would target large hospitality businesses who receive city subsidies, including disneyland. for the pbs newshour, i'm cat wise in anaheim, california. >> woodruff: finally tonight, what started as one woman' crusade against styrofoam take- out containers quickly became a community cleanup effort involving volunteers from all walks of life. the newshour's teresa carey went to durham, north carolina to meet the entrepreneurs behind "green to go." >> reporter: crystal dreisbach is fed up with trash produced from throwaway food containers.
>> there's all this existing research evidence that styrofoam and other plastics are bad for our health for the environment for the people who manufacture them. why are we still using them? >> reporter: styrofoam is a form of plastic that contains the chemical, styrene, which can cause impaired memory, vision and hearing loss, and cancer. after cities like san francisco and portland banned business from using styrofoam containers, dreisbach drafted a similar city ordinance with the durham's environmental affairs board. but she ran into too many bureaucratic hurdles, and it failed to gain approval. >> i was disappointed but undeterred and there are many other ways to encourage behavior change not just an enforceable >> reporter: dreisbach decided to focus on small-scale change. she partnered with amy eller to launch green to-go, a local takeout service that is garbage- free. >> most people get takeout food and they don't even they don't
think that this is a problem i'm taking on this container and i'm going to just throw it away. and that's just the way it's designed. they wouldn't have designed it this way if it was a problem right. >> reporter: here's how it works: the green to-go team stocks restaurants with reusable take-out containers. at a member's request, the restaurant packs food orders in checked-out green to-go containers. once finished, patrons return the dirty container to stations across the city. green to-go volunteers pick up, wash, sanitize, and re- distribute clean containers to the restaurants. >> trash is preventable and we can do this by offering consumers and restaurants another option, a sustainable option. >> reporter: for dreisbach, such an option was long overdue. durham county landfill filled up and closed in 1999. now, each day the county's trash is hauled 100 miles to a dump in sampson county. assistant solid waste manager, patricia fossum, sees trash as an environmental and economic
issue. >> when you put that handful of stuff in your trash can and you set out the curb and our guys you stop thinking about it because it's no longer your problem. well it comes here to us to me. >> reporter: green to-go launched last summer after a successful crowdfunding campaign. by the end of the summer, more than 30 restaurants will offer the service. seth gross's restaurant was one of the first to sign up. >> i actually had this crazy idea. i went to the health department and i said, "so i want people to be able to bring their own tupperware or plastic container in, and we're going to put the food in it for them. are you cool with that?" and they said, "absolutely not." well now apparently green to-go has finally figured out a way to do that and make the health department happy. >> reporter: like most states, north carolina does allow consumers to bring in cups to be refilled with beverages such as soda or coffee. for many members, green to-go is more than a container service. >> six years ago it just occurred to me i'm going to try
to live without single use plastic. one of the hardest things for me to do was to eat out, yet to eat it all. and now there's like 20 or 30 restaurants in durham where i can eat out no problem. >> i think a little bit more carefully about, do i need the plastic silverware and all that other stuff? it's made me more thoughtful about the amount of waste that i'm generating. >> reporter: duke university's environmental science program calculated the impact green to- go has on reducing waste. they found that one green togo container replaces the need for on average 1,000 disposable take-out containers. with the average american disposing of four and a half pounds of trash each day, dreisbach and eller said that reuse is a critical solution to the global waste problem. >> i want to see a future where it would never even occur to somebody to take their coffee in a cup that they're going to throw away. >> the take and trash economy that we live in is unsustainable
and we want to move to a circular economy that we believe is the future. reuse of all things is possible. you name it, the sky's the limit. >> reporter: with startup resources provided by a business incubator program, dreisbach and eller plan to upgrade the technology, expanding green togo to other cities. for the pbs newshour, i'm teresa carey in durham, north carolina. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> babbel. a language app that teaches real-life conversations in a new language, like spanish, french, german, italian, and more. >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change
worldwide. >> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
[ ♪ ] colin: i'm driving in the backwoods of south carolina right now. we're near the savannah river. we're going to a site called topper. it's one of the most exciting and controversial sites in u.s. archaeology. now, if you think back to school, you'll remember that the earliest humans that we know of in america were called the clovis people, and that was about 13,000 years ago. but as i understand it, what's really exciting about topper is that they think they might have evidence there of people living much, much earlier, 50,000 years ago maybe. time teamhas been invited to work here in this dense woodland... to help in the hunt for evidence of the first americans.